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BJP chief’s Sulthan Bathery to Ganapathyvattam row: Does it fill the stomach of poor, asks historian

BJP chief’s Sulthan Bathery to Ganapathyvattam row: Does it fill the stomach of poor, asks historian

K Surendran, the Kerala BJP president and candidate contesting from the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat, has sparked a debate by announcing that he will change the name of Sulthan Bathery to Ganapathyvattam if elected.

His remarks have ignited a flurry of reactions from various quarters, ranging from accusations of historical revisionism to political posturing.

"The renaming of Sulthan Bathery is inevitable," asserted Surendran, attributing the current name to Tipu Sultan's invasion.

He argued that the name change is necessary to erase the memory of a figure he deemed a "criminal", whom he described as a figure responsible for massacres of Hindus and Christians.

However, his stance has drawn sharp criticism, with opponents accusing him of attempting to manipulate historical narratives for political gain.

Surendran's proposal has faced sharp criticism from various quarters. Dr. K.K.N. Kurup, a prominent historian and former Vice Chancellor of Calicut University, questioned the relevance of such a name change in addressing the pressing issues faced by the community while talking to the Madhyamam online.

"Will changing the name fill the stomach of the poor? Will it solve the problems of the tribals or Will the threat of wildlife disappear?" asked Dr. Kurup, emphasizing the need for a focus on substantive issues rather than symbolic gestures.

Moreover, Dr. Kurup pointed out historical evidence suggesting that the temple currently referred to as Ganapathyvattam was originally a Jain temple. He cited carvings and paintings on the temple walls as evidence, contradicting claims about its association with Lord Ganapathi.

The controversy surrounding Surendran's statement has also drawn political reactions. T Siddique, Kerala Congress vice-president and legislator from Kalpetta in Wayanad, dismissed Surendran's proposal as a mere attention-seeking tactic, asserting that the BJP candidate stands little chance of winning from Wayanad.

Sulthan Bathery, one of the three municipal towns in Wayanad, holds historical significance dating back to Tipu Sultan's invasion in the 18th century. Originally known as Ganapathyvattam, the town acquired its current name when it served as a battery for Tipu Sultan's military ammunition, as documented in British records.

Surendran's bid for the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat pits him against figures such as sitting MP Rahul Gandhi of the Congress party and CPI national leader Annie Raja. The Lok Sabha elections in Kerala have been scheduled for April 26.

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TAGS:BJPLok Sabha Elections 2024: K SurendranDr. K.K.N. Kurup
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